Dingers Keep Rafters Close, Surprise Clinches in Least Surprising Way

Cubs Prospect Albert Almora led his Mesa Solar Sox to a victory to stay on top of the AFL East.  (Photo Courtesy Carrie Muskat)

Cubs Prospect Albert Almora led his Mesa Solar Sox with his bat and glove to a victory to stay on top of the AFL East.
(Photo Courtesy Carrie Muskat)

With three games left in the Arizona Fall League, you could be forgiven for expecting the players to be showing a bit more fatigue. With many of the roster spots going to prospects who played the entire regular season in the minors, it would be understandable to see less hustle and less highlight catches, it must be harder to focus and get the big hit toward the end of such a grind.  Watching yesterday’s games play out around the AFL, if there were any tired players out there I would need to have them pointed out.

 

 

Fighting to stay alive a half game behind the surging Solar Sox, Rafters starter Sam Gaviglio appeared to set the wrong tone after he allowed the Desert Dogs’ Jared Mitchell to tie the game on a first-inning leadoff bomb, but the 23 year-old Salt River hurler settled in after that, going five full innings with just the single earned run, a walk and four strikeouts. On a day where they scored eight runs, five of which came on homers by Kyle Parker, Stephen Piscotty, and Jacob Wilson, the Rafters were able to jump on Glendale starter Edward McRay early for 3 runs in the first 4 innings to chase him from the game and bring in Desert Dogs reliever Edgar Olmos. Olmos was obviously not the right choice to set down Salt River’s increasingly potent heart of the order, giving up four runs in a single frame, 3 of which came on Kyle Parker’s three-run, no-out bomb to make the score 7-1. The Dogs would not recover, getting sent packing with a final score of 8-1. The Rafters’ excitement didn’t last long, however, as news reached them that the Mesa Solar Sox, a half game ahead of them in the standings, similarly trounced Peoria. Behind huge games from Cubs’ top prospects Albert Almora and Kris Bryant, the Solar Sox managed to hold onto their narrow lead on the Rafters for entrance into Saturday’s AFL championship game. If both teams were to win their three remaining games, the Rafters will be forced to suffer the heartbreak of having done all they could and still falling short.

On the other side of the league, the Surprise Saguaros did what they have been doing the entire AFL season thus far and hammered the Scorpions into submission with their ridiculous offense. Led by a Mitch Haniger grand-salami and a 3 for 3 day by Red Sox Prospect Garin Cecchini, the Saguaros continued to ride a lineup featuring six (6!) starters with a wRC+ over 145, to a crushing defeat of Scottsdale and an even more crushing, but much more indirect, defeat of the Glendale Desert Dogs’ hopes of making the championship. With the win and the Dogs’ corresponding loss to the Rafters, the Saguaros clinch their appearance in Saturday’s final tilt for the AFL crown. 

Today, each of the teams will play their opponents once more before travelling for their final two-game series before the championship on Saturday. It appears that the Rafters and Solar Sox are going to give us a lot of good, focused reasons to watch these last three games.

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Posted on November 12, 2013, in Arizona Fall League, Top Prospects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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